So, what a few folks know (especially my friends from high school, college, working in Houston, and NYC) I used to be VERY overweight. My heaviest weight was 360 lbs. Through a lot of hard work after gastric bypass, I have managed to keep my weight off for almost 10 years. WOW, 11 years... that seems like a lifetime ago... If only I knew then what I know now about healthier eating.
My weight journey begins from birth. When I was born the doctor kept telling my mom she had a linebacker in her belly- I was huge. When I came out and was a girl... everyone was surprised. The big baby boy that was anticipated ended up being a big baby girl. I weighed in at 9 lbs, 6 ozs and I was ONLY 19 inches long. LET THE BATTLE BEGIN!
I was always the chubby curly haired girl in school from the time I started school. My mother always made me wear dresses in grade school. I thought it was because it was what SHE wanted (for those of you who don't remember or weren't there... we had LOVELY dresses in the 70s. I recall my favorite one being a BRIGHT green and yellow paisley jumper. NEAT-O), it definitely was NOT what I wanted. I wanted to wear bell bottoms. I didn't realize until six years ago that my mom had me wear dresses and was adamant about it because I was too heavy to wear the bell bottom jeans. They didn't make them for "solid" girls like me. I appreciate what my mom did when I was younger so I didn't feel like more of an outcast, or more ashamed of my body.
As I got older, I knew I was different (and not just quirky) from all of the other kids. I couldn't shop in the "normal" tween or teen stores like everyone else; I had to shop at Lane Bryant. They didn't have ANY other plus sized fashion store ANYWHERE at the time besides Lane Bryant. Man, K-Mart didn't even sell plus sized clothes besides the SHMOCK dresses my grandma wore (that is SO NOT K-Mart smart). So, I shared clothes with my mom a lot of the time.
In high school I was made fun of. There was one particular boy who was really rude to me. But instead of letting it get me down, I only used it to make me stronger. The kids who were bullied or made fun of in high school do not forget it, and they don't forget who did it. When I was at my 20 year class reunion, (after I lost all the weight) I confronted him. It was empowering to some extent--- I basically asked him if he had kids… he said “yes, a boy.” I said, “oh how nice. A word of advice, teach him not to be mean to people in school because they never forget.” YEP. I said it… Because that is how I roll.
After high school I went to college... I didn't gain the freshman 15, I gained the freshman 50. I ate to heal. If I was sad, I ate. If I was happy, I ate. Eating was my therapy... my friend... food was the only thing that was always there for me. (Which to type it now is very sad read, but it was the truth.)
After college (where I was still made fun of for my weight), I moved to Houston. I got a job at a mutual fund company, and met my first husband. We were both over weight and we both had a food addiction. What is hard about a food addiction is that you can't live without food. You have to eat. A crack addict can live without it… don’t go to the house. An alcoholic doesn’t HAVE to drink to live… So, in my humble opinion… it is one of the hardest addictions to have. Anyway, as we dated and eventually got married, our relationship and our bellies grew.
We moved to the NYC area -- I worked in the city, he worked in New Jersey... We both enjoyed our jobs and we were making a nice life on the east coast. One thing I can tell you... MAN, is the food good in NYC! Everywhere you turn... good food, and such a variety! The variety led to more weight gained.
I worked in the financial district in Manhattan (lower Manhattan by Battery Park). My commute every day took me by rail and subway to the world trade center, and then I would walk down the two avenue blocks (whose kidding, I took the subway) to my office. Every day the same routine- I was too heavy to walk the two blocks without my back or knees hurting. Matter of fact, I needed orthopedic surgery on my knee at that time. It was August of 2001 and I was getting ready to have knee surgery in October. On September 11, 2001, I was on my way into work when the terrorist strikes hit. By some lucky coincidence or chance I didn’t make it into the trade centers on time. Instead, I was stuck in Hoboken, NJ. You see, a crow flew into the electrical conduit of our train and it stopped--- we were stuck in NJ instead of being in NYC when the tragedy hit. Stuck on the track in Hoboken instead of on the PATH train from NJ into the World Trade Center (man I loved that place, great food, good shopping, nice people and a Duane Reade by the subway). I wonder how many other lives besides my own were spared that day do to some random fluke of nature. That day will always haunt me. I will never forget it. I remember seeing the planes hit the buildings with my own two eyes from Hoboken. If I were IN the city walking out of the trade center (which by the timing of everything) I would have walked out as the first plane hit--- I wouldn’t have been able to run to save my life. I have asthma and at the time I smoked half a pack of cigarettes a day. I would have died, I honestly think that.
On 9/11/01 the old me died and the new me was reborn. I couldn’t go into work for two weeks, because they had to clean everything up and make sure it was safe… and during those two weeks I decided to be healthier and to live my life this time around instead of my life living me. I had a second chance.
In April of 2002 I had weight loss surgery. When going in, I weight 360 lbs, I was wearing a size 34 dress. I was ready for a change of huge proportions.
After surgery it sucked. BAD. I had to eat baby food for a month, and I had to change what I ate and how much. But I could do this (I kept telling myself that). Weight loss surgery (again in my humble opinion) is not a quick fix.. it is NOT an easy way out. It is a tool. When I got the go ahead from my surgeon, I started working out with a personal trainer. I changed my eating habits a LOT! Today I don’t eat fast food hardly at ALL--- it is a rare occasion, but the night before my weight loss surgery I can tell you what I had for dinner… 2 double quarter pounders with cheese, an extra large fry, an extra large coke, and a chocolate shake. WOW. Today, I can’t even stomach a chicken nugget from McDonald’s.
After having weight loss surgery, I have lost 200 lbs and have been able to maintain the loss. I have had my two wonderful biological kids. (Before weight loss surgery I was always told I had “unknown infertility” which is the polite way doctors tell you that you are too fat to ovulate.)
Today I am trying to stay on track for my couch to 5k, I want to run a 5k in the fall. I eat a lot healthier. I don’t smoke. I encourage my kids to eat a well balanced healthy meal. My hard work though my weight journey has paid off in spades. How do I know this? My mother, my son (Kennith who is 8) and I went to Granite City for lunch. My son could choose anything off of the kids menu for lunch… he chose grilled chicken and steamed broccoli. So, through all of my YOYO diets from youth to finally fixing my eating habits, I have not just fixed the weight and food issues for myself, but I have fixed it for my kids as well.
here are some before pictures of me pre weight loss (and not the greatest since it is late and I took a picture of the picture with my phone)... PROOF. LOL